By Solomon Lubambula

Unwanted Witness Introduces E-NGO to Uganda

In a bid to maximize the benefits of the information in custody of civil society, the Unwanted Witness Uganda a body that promotes digital rights and access to information has embarked on a process of building ICT capacities for rural based Non-governmental Organizations.
Referring to the country’s Vision 2040 that emphasizes science and technology (including ICT) as the potential and reliable pillar for economic and social development, the Executive Officer Unwanted Witness Uganda Geoffrey Wokulira Ssebagala says that Non-government organizations and community based Organizations need Information Technologies to scale up their information dissemination.

The Unwanted Witness Uganda has now offered an opportunity to about 50 000 Non-governmental and Community Based organizations to freely get web sites and training of human resources on information Technologies.
The E-NGO framework is geared towards ensuring that NGOs embrace IT platforms that will increase usage of the information in their custody which comes with benefits to the population. Already 100 NGOs have benefited from this initiative that will see the entire global share information about their activities.
Ssebagala says that with everyone going digital, NGOs and CBOs will be able to attract more partners who may support them after reading the information posted through these platforms. He said that the E-NGO frameworks come at a time when government expresses its commitment to ICT through increased funding to the sector into the National Budget.
Ssebagala further explains that because of the huge costs of having Websites, YouTube accounts among other avenues; a lot of grass root information gathered by Community Based Organizations is not shared at the national level thus widening the gap between policy makers and the community. He says that the Unwanted Witness is looking at increasing internet access and information sharing for advocacy.
Out of the over 30 million Ugandans, statistics from the ICT ministry as per last year shows that there only 6 million internet users across the country.
According to the unwanted witness, this gap is unacceptably huge which requires urgent attention.

“Unwanted Witness Uganda is working toward increasing an open internet and we feel that our mandate will have been achieved if we increase the interest in internet usage. But at the same time use ICT for development, and try to tackle social issues of Ugandans based on factual information generated from the ground”.-Ssebagala noted.

Analysts say that the Framework would help the NGOs and CBOs to mitigate the problems that come with the traditional channels of disseminating information. They pointed out the government restrictions exerted on the traditional media channels which may not be easily applied in cases of IT platforms.
It is further argued that the international community will conveniently access Information pertaining Uganda’s health, Education, governance, corruption facts via online to determine their plans and actions in the country.